The “air raid” offense, as the name would suggest, needs a bunch of receivers. It doesn’t hurt to have a great quarterback too.
When the Arizona Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, it was curious. How could a coach who couldn’t win at Texas Tech, which fired Kingsbury despite him being a legend there from his playing days, be a success in the NFL?
Kingsbury might not be an NFL success either. But the Cardinals didn’t leave any doubt during the draft that they are entirely invested into Kingsbury and his offense, for better or worse.
Cardinals get Kliff Kingsbury some offensive talent
The moment the Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray, it set a tone. Arizona wouldn’t take the unprecedented step of drafting Murray first overall, a year after taking Josh Rosen at No. 10, unless they were all-in on Kingsbury and his offense. The Cardinals took a pretty embarrassing loss selling low on Rosen after one season in a trade to the Miami Dolphins, but this is Kingsbury’s show now.
And if all the Cardinals did in the draft was take Murray to run Kingsbury’s offense, that would have been enough of a sign. But then came the receivers.
They took Massachusetts receiver Andy Isabella with the 62nd pick, the selection obtained in the Rosen trade. They started the fourth round with Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler. Then came KeeSean Johnson from Fresno State at the start of the sixth round. The Cardinals stuck with that theme through the final pick of the draft, when they took athletic UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson as “Mr. Irrelevant.”
The Cardinals have promising second-year receiver Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald is back for another season. Also, running back David Johnson is a fantastic receiver out of the backfield. Add in Murray and multiple new receivers ... the Cardinals might be really fun to watch this season.
Cardinals get interesting trio of receivers
The Cardinals might not have come into the draft expecting to take three receivers. But the value was good.
Isabella has great speed. Butler had some issues with drops, but he has great size and speed and was expected to go long before the fourth round. Johnson is another receiver who plays big, and seemed like a great value in the sixth. Even Wilson, a first-team all-Pac-12 selection last season, seems like he slipped too far.
Whether it was the plan or just value lining up right, it’s a sign that the Cardinals didn’t just hire Kingsbury, they truly believe in his offense and are willing to invest fully into it. They’re not doing this halfway.
Given the Cardinals have a new quarterback and more talented receivers than they can play at once, it’s possible Kingsbury’s offense is going to be as extreme as it was at Texas Tech, where his teams never failed to pile up yards and points. It’s quite an experiment.
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